Top drone industry news 31 October 2016

Top drone industry news, hand-picked for you by Skytango’s team with comments by Steve Flynn, Skytango’s CEO. Edition: Oct. 31, 2016.

Drone Industry News

I always enjoy reading Craig Issod‘s articles on the industry. They are deep and full of insights on what’s happening. This week Craig, founder of, reviews GoPro’s involvement in drones up to Karma’s production, and comments on the possible outcomes of the Karma launch.

Forbes hosts a few interesting UAV-related articles this week. This one by Gregory S. McNeal, Professor of Law and Public Policy at Pepperdine University, explains why drones, not driverless cars, are the future of autonomous navigation.

Are you developing Sense & Avoid technology? Take your chance to win $15,000 in the competition hosted by the UTM Convention 2016 on Nov. 9. There is a lot of potential in this type of drone technology which is essential to beyond line of sight commercial flights and deliveries.

On Forbes, aviation safety consultant John Goglia interviews drone attorney Peter Sachs, publisher of the Drone Law Journal. They criticize the fact that, right now, AMA is the only organization recognized by the FAA as meeting the community-based organization requirement which allows hobbyist flyers to fly in compliance even without a commercial certificate.

DJI is misleading customers about delays for the Mavic, writes Christina Warren on Gizmodo – nice piece! In the meantime, DJI is also moving forward on the industrial side too. DJI has in fact launched Zenmuse Z30, the first integrated aerial camera with a whopping 30x optical zoom, specifically made for industrial inspections. DJI calls it “the most powerful integrated aerial zoom camera on the market” and it’s indeed a powerful tool outstripping its competitors.

Drones & Privacy

As PetaPixel ironically comments, Swedes probably won’t like the Zenmuse Z30 one bit! 10 days ago the Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden ruled that cameras mounted on drones require a permit under camera surveillance laws.

While I’m in favor of regulating the market, this ruling sounds to me extreme and a big step backward for Sweden and its growing drone industry (20,000+ drones sold in 2014, and 1,000+ permits issued for commercial purposes).

Drones and privacy is apparently a hot topic. Mike Orcutt on MIT Technology Review highlights how drones are exposing gaps in today’s privacy laws. Really interesting article.

Photo District News recaps the main takes from a drone regulation panel at PhotoPlus Expo, the largest photography event in North America. There are two looming threats to drone photography: state-by-state regulations which could crack down on drone flights due to privacy concerns, and the potential for large commercial drone operators to carve out exclusive use of airspace for delivery services.

Drones & Women

Australian scientist, lecturer and drone pilot Dr. Karen Joyce, along with fellow drone pilot and researcher Dr. Catherine Ball, has launched SheFlies, an initiative to promote employment equity in science and technology, particularly drones. Currently, only 1% of Australian certified remote pilots are female.

New Drone Products/Ideas

AirBlock is a drone project currently fundraising on Kickstarter. Created by Makeblock, a DIY robotics firm based out of San Francisco and Shenzhen, China, AirBlock is modular and programmable. Its main target is kids who can learn how to code in a fun way, and play with the drone building it and combining blocks.


An interesting article by Steve Boreham, Geographical Services Officer at the University of Cambridge (and co-authored by Adam Copeland and Chris Rolfe) shows how he is using drones for physical geography and environmental science researches.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) will be using drones at accident investigation across Australia, to increase safety & reduce costs, writes the Bureau itself. reports that researchers from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) are developing an algorithm able to detect forest fires by using a new color index, from any perspective, including aerial. The method could be used in real-time in unmanned aerial systems with the aim of monitoring wide areas.

Drones in Journalism

Drones are becoming a mainstream tool for journalists and news organizations, and we at Skytango are excited by this!

An interesting article on Cincinnati Public Radio WVXU‘s website shows the increasing adoption of drones by local television stations and media organizations such as WCPO-TVThe EnquirerWXIX-TV and more.

A police drone footage released on BBC News shows the devastating effects of a massive fire on the oldest hotel in England, the Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter.

A few hours after the devastating earthquake that hit central and southern Italy on Sunday 30th Oct. morning, the largest Italy’s earthquake since 1980, a drone shows the massive damage in two towns in central Italy.

Drone Events

November is another busy month for drone events. Upcoming events include:

Drone Film/Photo Festivals

DJI has just launched the 2016 SkyPixel Photo Contest, the world’s largest contest dedicated to aerial photography, with great prizes from big sponsors including DJI, Adobe and Epson, and a Grand Prize that includes the recently released DJI Mavic Pro.

Now open for submissions:

Aerial Video of the Week

A great trilogy tells of Spanish MTB rider Carlos Coloma’s training for Rio 2016 Olympics and his path to the Bronze medal. Outstanding aerials shot by drone operator Andrés G. Cuevas beautifully complement this champion’s story. The final video has just been released:

CHASING RIO – Chapter Three from Carlos Coloma on Vimeo.


Thanks for reading and for sharing,